Archive for May, 2014

May 29 2014

Seafood industry under threat from climate change


By April Forristall, assistant editor
Published on 28 May, 2014


A report released on Wednesday reveals the growing threat of climate change and acidification to marine resources.

The report contains findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report and was published jointly by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and Judge Business School and supported by the European Climate Foundation.

Findings include:

  • The total loss of landings to global fisheries by 2050 due to climate change range from USD 17 billion (EUR 12.5 billion) to USD 41 billion (EUR 30.1 billion) based on a global warming scenario of 2 degrees.
  • Fishery yields will increase 30 – 70 percent in high latitudes but fall by 40 – 60 percent in the Tropics and Antarctica based on 2 degrees of warming. Large species like tuna in the Pacific and Indian oceans are likely to move eastwards.
  • 400 hundred million people depend critically on fish for their food and face reduced access to marine protein because of climate change and acidification. Artisanal fishermen in the Tropics are most at risk.
  • Changes in the distribution of particular marine species may lead to conflict between fishing nations and significant increases in illegal fishing.
  • The impacts of climate change and ocean acidification are generally exacerbated by other factors like pollution, habitat loss and over-fishing

“This report is a wake up call for the seafood industry to recognize the scale of the threat to ocean resources from climate change and acidification,” said Blake Lee-Harwood of SFP. “We need to see urgent action in trying to mitigate the likely impacts while adapting wherever that’s practically possible.”

“This briefing highlights the business-critical implications of climate change for the fisheries sector, representing tens of billions of dollars in future costs and damages for the industry. Companies in this sector will have to take the implications of climate science into account as they plan for the future. We hope that this briefing, developed with experts from both business and science, will help them do so,” said Eliot Whittington of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
The report cites areas where action can be taken to lessen the impact of climate change:

  • Adapt where possible — for instance, some shellfish hatcheries in the north west USA have learned to avoid taking in seawater during periods of high acidity
  • Undertake vulnerability assessments of fisheries and aquaculture operations
  • Strengthen coastal zone management to reduce land-sourced pollution, over-harvesting and physical damage to resources
  • Create new habitats such as artificial reefs to act as fish nurseries in areas where coral reef destruction occurs


May 29 2014

Sardine recovery drives Q1 Chile pelagic catches up 28%, offsetting drop in jack mackerel


May 23, 2014, 2:17 pm
Alicia Villegas  

Sardines. Photo by Juuyoh Tanaka.

Chile’s pelagic landings rose by 27.8% to 522,600 metric tons in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2013.

This was driven by good sardine catches, which more than doubled year-on-year.

By the end of March, 197,000t or 52.8% of the quota set for Chile’s sardine fishery in 2014 had been caught, according to Chile’s undersecretariat for fisheries and aquaculture Subpesca.

All of these landings were from the area between the V and X regions.

This means that during the next nine months of the year, catches cannot exceed 176,000t, as the sardine fishery saw the steepest drop in absolute volume of total allowed catches (TAC) for 2014, slashed by 38.3% to 373,000t.

The cut was in response to the steep drop in Chile’s sardine catches last year, which drove pelagic landings down by nearly 650,000t in the first nine months of 2013.

Anchovy catches also nudged up in Q1 this year, but only slightly, by 1.8% to 168,600t year-on-year.

Regions XV and II accounted for most landings (148,000t), which is also 11.2% up from last year’s 165,600t.

Jack mackerel, poor landings


Jack mackerel, the third main pelagic species caught by the Chilean fleet, had poor landings in comparison to sardine and anchovy.

Chile’s pelagic landings in 2014 first three months: jack mackerel (red), anchovy (green) and sardine (purple).

Vessels landed 107,000t of jack mackerel in the three month period, which is 13.9% down as the same time last year, said Subpesca.

Regions V and X were the main jack mackerel’s landings areas, totaling 95,100t, involving a fall of 19% year-on-year.

Cuttlefish catches double

Cuttlefish catches were also up in the first three months of 2014 when compared with the same time a year ago.

“The cuttlefish resource increases strongly, doubling its catches,” Subpesca said.

Cuttlefish landings totaled 37,400t by the end of March, mainly in the V and X regions.

Hake down 47%

On the other hand, hake catches were down 47.3% to 5,000t year-on-year.

Industrial vessels contributed to 37.8% or 1,900t of hake landings, while the artisanal fleet increased its catches by 10.9% to 3,100t.

According to media reports, however, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing of hake in Chile could have totaled 19,000t so far this year.

That would if so represent 83.3% of the total allowable catch for the artisanal fisheries, set at 7,600t.

Landings for mackerel, for its part, also decreased by 33.7% to 9,200t year-on-year.

May 21 2014

FAO Releases State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture Report


United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization: 70% of global fish stocks fished within sustainable limits; seafood production up 10 million tons

WASHINGTON ( May 20, 2014 — FAO has released its latest “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture” report, covering 2012,  and there are a number of positive news items. First and foremost, 70% of wild capture fisheries are now being fished within biologically sustainable limits.

This is a “reversal in trend observed during the past few years, a positive sign in the right direction,” says the FAO. Global capture fisheries remained stable at 80 million tons.

Secondly, the aquaculture production continues to surge. Global aquaculture production marked a record high of more than 90 million tonnes in 2012, including almost 24 million tonnes of aquatic plants. China accounted for over 60 percent of the total share.

Other positive trends were the increase in employment in fisheries and aquaculture, the greater share o trade coming from developing countries, and the fact that seafood now accounts for 17% of global protein consumption.

The report also emphasizes the importance and positive role of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries which, since its adoption almost two decades ago, remains key to achieving sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

More people than ever before rely on fisheries and aquaculture for food and as a source of income says the new FAO report published today.

According to the latest edition of FAO’s The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, global fisheries and aquaculture production totaled 158 million tonnes in 2012 – around 10 million tonnes more than 2010.

The rapid expansion of aquaculture, including the activities of small-scale farmers, is driving this growth in production.

Fish farming holds tremendous promise in responding to surging demand for food which is taking place due to global population growth, the report says.

At the same time, the planet’s oceans – if sustainably managed – have an important role to play in providing jobs and feeding the world, according to FAO’s report.

“The health of our planet as well as our own health and future food security all hinge on how we treat the blue world,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said.

“We need to ensure that environmental well-being is compatible with human well-being in order to make long-term sustainable prosperity a reality for all. For this reason, FAO is committed to promoting ‘Blue Growth,’ which is based on the sustainable and responsible management of our aquatic resources.”

The renewed focus on the so-called “blue world” comes as the share of fisheries production used by humans for food has increased from about 70 percent in the 1980s to a record high of more than 85 percent (136 million tonnes) in 2012.

At the same time per capita fish consumption has soared from 10 kg in the 1960s to more than 19 kg in 2012.

The new report also says fish now accounts for almost 17 percent of the global population’s intake of protein — in some coastal and island countries it can top 70 percent.

FAO estimates that fisheries and aquaculture support the livelihoods of 10-12 percent of the world’s population.

Since 1990 employment in the sector has grown at a faster rate than the world’s population and in 2012 provided jobs for some 60 million people engaged in capture fisheries and aquaculture. Of these, 84 percent were employed in Asia, followed by Africa with about 10 percent.

Global marine capture fishery production was stable at about 80 million tonnes in 2012, the new report indicates.

Currently, under 30 percent of the wild fish stocks regularly monitored by FAO are overfished – a reversal in trend observed during the past few years, a positive sign in the right direction.

Just over 70 percent are being fished within biologically sustainable levels. Of these, fully fished stocks – meaning those at or very close to their maximum sustainable production – account for over 60 percent and underfished stocks about 10 percent.

Global aquaculture production marked a record high of more than 90 million tonnes in 2012, including almost 24 million tonnes of aquatic plants. China accounted for over 60 percent of the total share.

Aquaculture’s expansion helps improve the diets of many people, especially in poor rural areas where the presence of essential nutrients in food is often scarce.

However, the report warns that to continue to grow sustainably, aquaculture needs to become less dependent on wild fish for feeds and introduce greater diversity in farmed culture species and practices.

For example, small-sized species can be an excellent source of essential minerals when consumed whole. However, consumer preferences and other factors have seen a switch towards larger farmed species whose bones and heads are often discarded.

The role of fish is set to feature prominently at the Second International Conference on Nutrition jointly organized by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) for 19-21 November 2014 in Rome.

Fish remains among the most traded food commodities worldwide, worth almost $130 billion in 2012 – a figure which likely will continue to increase.

An important trend sees developing countries boosting their share in the fishery trade – 54 percent of total fishery exports by value in 2012 and more than 60 percent by quantity (live weight).

This means fisheries and fish farming are playing an increasingly critical role for many local economies. Some 90 percent of fishers are small scale and it is estimated that, overall, 15 percent are women. In secondary activities such as processing, this figure can be as high as 90 percent.

FAO, through the 2014 International Year of Family Farming, is raising the profile of smallholder activities – including fisheries and aquaculture – with an emphasis on improving access to finance and markets, securing tenure rights and protecting the environment.

An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food are lost per year – to about one-third of all food produced. This figure includes post-harvest fish losses, which tend to be greater in small-scale fisheries.

In small-scale fisheries, quality losses are often far more significant than physical losses. Improved handling, processing and value-addition methods could address the technical aspects of this issue, but it is also vital to extend good practices, build partnerships, raise awareness, and develop capacity and relevant policies and strategies.

The report also notes that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing remains a major threat to marine ecosystems and also impacts negatively on livelihoods, local economies and food supplies.

Food chain traceability is increasingly a requirement in major fish markets, especially in the wake of recent scandals involving the mislabeling of food products.

FAO provides technical guidelines on certification and ecolabeling which can help producers demonstrate that fish has been caught legally from a sustainably managed fishery or produced in properly run aquaculture facility.

In particular, the report stresses the importance of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries which, since its adoption almost two decades ago, remains key to achieving sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

The Code promotes the responsible use of aquatic resources and habitat conservation to help boost the sector’s contribution to food security, poverty alleviation and human well-being.

FAO is also promoting “Blue Growth” as a framework for ensuring sustainable and socioeconomically-sensitive management of oceans and wetlands.

At the Global Oceans Action Summit on Food Security and Blue Growth held last month in The Hague, Netherlands, governments and other participants committed to actions focused on tackling climate change, overfishing, habitat loss and pollution in a bid to restore productive, resilient oceans.

This story originally appeared on, a subscription site. It is reprinted with permission.

May 20 2014

Commercial Fishing Value Doubles Recreational Sector


by Laine Welch

The debate over which sector — commercial or recreational fishing — provides the bigger economic punch can finally be put to rest.

The annual “Fisheries Economics of the U.S.” report by the Department of Commerce shows once and for all that in terms of values, jobs, sales and incomes, the commercial sector far outscores recreational fishing. A breakdown of the extensive report by market analyst John Sackton shows that in 2012, commercial fishing had $140 billion in sales compared to $58 billion for sport fishing. And for the value contributed to the national economy, commercial fishing added nearly $60 billion — double the recreational sector.

In terms of jobs, the seafood industry employed 1.27 million people compared to 380,000 for sports anglers. The most striking difference, Sackton said, is where those people are employed. For sport fishing, employment was building boats and engines, representing 82 percent of both employment and sales and is very regionally concentrated. The NOAA report added that less than 20 percent of the jobs in the sport industry come from guides, boat operators, tackle shops and various rentals.

For the commercial fishing industry, the value and jobs created are spread throughout the entire country. The recreational sector is concentrated in a few states and industries. For example, Florida accounted for 30 percent of all U.S. recreational fishing jobs. Add the Gulf States and North Carolina, and the number jumps to nearly half the national total.

The economic benefits of the commercial seafood sector also penetrate all parts of the U.S. and the economy. Unlike his sport counterparts, a fisherman in Alaska is supporting dozens of other U.S. jobs in retail, wholesale, distribution and import sectors. In short, the facts negate the argument that recreational fishing has a greater or more direct economic impact than the commercial fishery.

The economics report also breaks down information by region. In terms of prices, the report shows that of 10 key U.S. species, sea scallops, Pacific halibut and sablefish received the highest ex-vessel (dock) prices in 2012 at $9.83, $4.48 and $3.42 per pound, respectively.

Menhaden and pollock had the lowest ex-vessel prices in 2012 at $0.07 and $0.12 per pound. However, landings of both species were the largest in the U.S. at 1.77 billion pounds of menhaden and 2.87 billion pounds of pollock. Find a link to the ‘Fisheries Economics of the U.S. report at

Get your gear on

The call is out for entries in the international Smart Gear competition. The contest, which began in 2005 by the World Wildlife Fund, rewards new gear ideas that help fishermen retain target catches while letting marine mammals, turtles, birds or small fish swim away.

This year’s competition offers the largest prize pool ever, said program director, Michael Osmond in a phone interview.

“There is a $30,000 grand prize, two $10,000 runner-up prizes, and we have two $7,500 that we call special bycatch prizes,” Osmond said. “One of them is a tuna bycatch reduction prize, and the other is a marine mammal bycatch reduction prize.”

The competition goes beyond cash prizes, he added.

“The second step is to get those ideas to the stage where they can actually be used by industry, and doing the job they were designed to do,” he said.

WWWF and its partners continue working with gear innovators and — to date — almost 50 percent of the winning ideas from the competition are now out on the water. That includes the 2011winners: Japan’s double-weight branchline that prevents seabird bycatch; Florida’s “Seaqualizer” that lets fish with air bladders be safely returned to deep water; and California’s simple LED lights or glow sticks that keep turtles away from gillnets.

Osmond said 60 to 70 percent of the gear entries come from fishermen — as do the majority of winning ideas. The 2011 competition attracted 74 entries from a record 31 countries. Osmond said Alaska is always in the mix with three or four entries.

“We haven’t yet had a winning idea from Alaska,” he said, “but this year is just as good a chance as any.”
Deadline to enter the Smart Gear contest is Aug. 31. Go to

Pollock opp flop

It’s the peak time of the year for jig fishing for cod, and 60 boats have landed more than 1.5 million pounds of a nearly 6-million-pound quota. At the same time, jiggers can keep as much pollock as they catch. But so far it hasn’t been much of a draw.

“No one seems to be taking advantage of the pollock jig fishery in the sense that they are going out and targeting pollock,” said Matt Keyse, a regional manager at Fish and Game in Kodiak.
So far, 15,000 pounds of pollock was delivered by jig boats. Keyes said that’s about average.
“Every year, jig cod boats tend to land between 20-30,000 pounds of pollock,” he added. “I expect we’ll be in that same range if things remain the same.”

The jig cod price at Kodiak is 35 cents a pound; pollock is closer to 13 cents. A dozen seiners signed up for the first-ever pollock fishery and Keyse said he’s just waiting for the boats to show.

“At this point, we are waiting for someone to approach us and say they are ready to go,” Keyes said.
The Kodiak salmon season begins on June 9. Keyes said there won’t be conflicting seine gear in the water.


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May 19 2014

dead fish wash ashore in marina del rey

By Q McCray
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Massive cleanup efforts are underway after thousands of dead fish were found floating in Marina Del Rey Saturday afternoon, near Ballona Creek.

Anchovies, stingrays, halibut, sunfish and an octopus were among the thousands of dead fish that rose to the surface at Basin A of the marina near Tahiti Way, according to the Sheriff’s Department.


View original story here.

May 17 2014

Intense El Nino seen likely to be developing this fall

Seafood News

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SCOM] – May 15, 2014 –


New NASA satellite images seem to show that El Niño conditions seem to be developing in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, data from satellites and ocean sensors indicate.  The ocean temperature profile in May 2014 appears very similar to that of 1997, when an intense El Nino cycle formed.

A natural climate cycle that brings abnormally toasty temperatures to the Pacific Ocean, El Niño occurs when winds pile up warm water in the eastern part of the equatorial Pacific, triggering changes in atmospheric circulation that affects rainfall and storm patterns around the world.

Sea-surface height can reveal if such heat is being stored in particular regions of the ocean, since water expands as it warms. Above-normal sea-surface height in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, in turn, can suggest an El Niño is developing, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory.

That’s what is showing up right now, as satellite images taken from the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason 2 satellite reveal sea-surface height, averaged over a 10-day period centered on May 3, is above normal. A similar anomaly showed up during May 1997 — which coincided with one of the strongest El Niños ever experienced. That year North America saw one of its warmest and wettest winters on record; Central and South America saw immense rainstorms and flooding; and Indonesia along with parts of Asia endured severe droughts, the Earth Observatory noted.

“What we are now seeing in the tropical Pacific Ocean looks similar to conditions in early 1997,” said Eric Lindstrom, oceanography program manager at NASA headquarters, in an Earth Observatory statement. “If this continues, we could be looking at a major El Niño this fall. But there are no guarantees.”

A network of sensors in the Pacific Ocean reveals a deep pool of warm water shifting eastward, supporting the satellite data, according to the Earth Observatory.
Model predictions issued on May 8 by the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center forecast that the chances of an El Niño developing during the summer are more than 65 percent. “These atmospheric and oceanic conditions collectively indicate a continued evolution toward El Niño,” the alert read.

This event may be just the beginning of more intense El Niños to come, according to research detailed Jan. 19 in the journal Nature Climate Change. That study suggested the most powerful El Niño events may occur every 10 years rather than every 20 years, due to rising sea-surface temperatures overall in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Republished with permission of

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May 14 2014

Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans From Polar Melt


MAY 12, 2014

A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries.

Global warming caused by the human-driven release of greenhouse gases has helped to destabilize the ice sheet, though other factors may also be involved, the scientists said.

The rise of the sea is likely to continue to be relatively slow for the rest of the 21st century, the scientists added, but in the more distant future it may accelerate markedly, potentially throwing society into crisis.

“This is really happening,” Thomas P. Wagner, who runs NASA’s programs on polar ice and helped oversee some of the research, said in an interview. “There’s nothing to stop it now. But you are still limited by…”


Read the entire article online here.



May 14 2014

Sea-lion miseries tied to sardine reduction

Nursing the mammal population back to health raises another question: Do we let nature take its course if there are now too many?

Published: May 6, 2014

Mass beachings of malnourished sea lions in 2013 are likely linked to a drop in sardine populations near Channel Islands rookeries where thousands of sea lions are born each year, federal officials say.

More than 1,600 sea lion pups washed up on beaches from San Diego to Ventura between January and April 2013 – starving, dehydrated and suffering from a variety of diseases.

The mass stranding led the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries service to form a task force of scientists to research what could have caused the unusual mortality event.

In the past two months, 650 sea lions have been found on beaches in similar conditions.

“Although the pups showed signs of some viruses and infections, findings indicate that this event was not caused by disease, rather by the lack of high-quality, close-by food sources for nursing mothers,” said Sarah Wilkin, coordinator of the Marine Mammal Health Stranding and Response Program for the National Marine Fisheries.

The task force’s scientists considered prey, oceanic conditions, viruses, bacteria, toxins and even radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. The lack of sardines has been the only clear indicator of the mass stranding.

Sardines, a fatty, silvery fish, provide a high level of nutrients not only to sea lions but also to seals, elephant seals and humpback whales, many of which are also found along the Channel Islands and compete for food with the sea lions.

Sardine numbers are in steep decline, and those that are available have shifted spawning grounds, previously surveyed within 50 miles of the sea lion rookeries, to deep water up to 120 miles from shore even as sea lion numbers are booming.

Scientists say the absence of sardines near the rookeries likely created challenges for mothers in feeding their pups and forced juveniles to swim farther to find other forage fish like market squid and juvenile rock fish. Most sea lions hunt within 60 miles of their rookeries.

In the 1940 and ’50s, sardines were heavily fished off the coast of Monterrey in Northern California. Their numbers drastically declined for 30 years and then rebounded in the 1980s, according to task force member Sam McClatchie, an oceanographer with Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla who has conducted fish number studies on sardines.

In 2006, sardine numbers again began to crash, McClatchie said. Last December, the fishing quota was dropped to 5,446 metric tons for California, Oregon and Washington from January to June. In the same time period the previous year, the quota was 18,073 metric tons.

Sardines and other pelagic fish such as anchovies, market squid, rock fish and hag are known to fluctuate in populations and locations. The fish are mobile, migrating from Baja to Vancouver each year.

But sardines, while flexible, are easily affected by changes in ocean temperature. A dip of water temperatures in the south-flowing California current in the last decade could be reducing their numbers off the Southern California coast.

There are big differences in temperature between Baja, Vancouver and the California central coast along with seasonal and regional differences that cause volatile swings in sardine populations. While those conditions have brought a boom in some species, like market squid, they have pushed out sardines.

“In a year where conditions are good, we can get a lot of fish,” McClatchie said. “They often live five to eight years and in a good pulse, a lot of eggs can be produced related to the number of mothers there are. How many survive depends on environmental conditions and how many are eating them.”

Last year’s stranding was not the largest in the California, but the timing and location made it unique, said Justin Viezbicke, California stranding network coordinator for National Marine Fisheries.

Sea lions began washing ashore in January, much earlier than usual. Sea lion pups are born in summer and stay with their mothers for 10 to 11 months, so rescue centers don’t usually see strandings until June.


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May 13 2014

How to fillet fresh sardines, no knife required

By Michael Cimarusti
May 10 –


Filleting fresh sardines is worth the effort. (David Silverman / Getty Images)

Fresh sardines are a bit of work to prepare. Small fish usually are, but don’t let that deter you. They’re worth the effort. And once you get it down, the process goes quickly. You don’t even need a knife to fillet a sardine. Their flesh is so soft they can be filleted with your thumbnail. In fact, doing this will help you preserve the texture. By filleting sardines this way, you force the bones out of the flesh. When you cut sardines with a knife, you cut through the bones, leaving them behind in the fillets.

Start by gutting the fish. Place the fish on a clean napkin with the belly facing you. Use your thumbnail to separate flesh from bone where the anal fin meets the belly.

Work your thumb under the flesh while sliding your thumb toward the tail of the fish. At this point the flesh of the sardine should be separated from the bone on the first side.

Slide your finger on top of the backbone toward the head of the fish to separate the ribs from the fillet. At this point you will be able to see where the backbone terminates at the tail. Pinch the backbone of the sardine between your thumb and pointer finger and break it.

Gently lift up on the severed backbone, and it will pull free from the flesh, bringing many of the smaller bones with it. When you get to the head of the sardine, you can pinch the backbone again to sever it from the head and lift it free. Whether you leave the head on the fish is up to you.

View the original article here.

May 13 2014

Sardines and mackerel: inexpensive, sustainable and dynamite

By Michael Cimarusti — May 10 —


Lightly salted and pickled sardines on toasted baguette with artichoke puree, tomato and black olive. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Good things come in small packages. Sardines and mackerel are proof of this adage. These are fish for the converted, fish for people who truly enjoy the flavor of fish.

My first experience with fish of this sort came on a fishing trip in Maine when I was about 12. We were fishing freshwater, but we had brought along canned mackerel for quick lunches. I decided I’d try one. I turned the key on that little can and it opened up a whole world of briny, fatty deliciousness. I still love canned mackerel and canned sardines. Don’t get me started: Ever try a sardine bánh mi? No? Well, trust me, you’ve been missing out.

Sardines and mackerel are plentiful fish, whether you’re buying them canned or fresh. They are easy to come by and inexpensive. In a world where buying wild fish can be a minefield from a sustainability standpoint, these fish offer a haven, and a delicious haven it is.

When buying sardines, look for shiny, firm fish. They should still be flexed in rigor when you buy them, and make sure their bellies are intact.

Once you’ve found the sardines, you’ll need to decide what to do with them.

One of my very favorite dishes — one I could eat every day — is the pasta con le sarde we’ve served for years at Providence. It’s a play on a traditional Sicilian recipe. The pasta includes fresh sardines, olive oil, fennel, pine nuts, raisins and bread crumbs. It’s crave-worthy. Grilled sardines are also delicious with nothing more than sea salt and lemon.

Fish this flavorful does the heavy lifting; you really don’t need to do much in order to make them memorable.

If you want something that’s a little more involved and definitely dinner party material, try quickly pickling the sardines. Serve these on grilled slices of baguette you’ve smeared with artichoke purée and then top them with roasted tomatoes. It’s a terrific appetizer, or you could serve it with a big salad of arugula dressed with simple vinaigrette for more of a main course salad.

Really, any preparation that includes salt and a touch of acid will do: The salt to bring out the flavor in the fish and the acid to tame the fat. It’s hard to go wrong with sardines.

Mackerel is just as flavorful and easier to prepare, since it usually comes already scaled and filleted. I particularly like Spanish, or sierra, mackerel, which has a shiny spotted skin that does beautiful things when crisped in a pan or on a grill. This fish is also particularly abundant and inexpensive, and is recommended as a best choice based on sustainability by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

One way I love to serve it during the summer is alongside a piperade, a slightly spicy mix of peppers, tomatoes and chorizo. This mixture works with all sorts of fish: mackerel, sardines, swordfish or bluefish.

Sardines and mackerel, like black licorice, aren’t for everybody. I get that, but you really need to give them a try. My son, one of the pickiest eaters on the planet, hounds me, nearly every Sunday, to take him to Park’s Barbeque for their broiled mackerel. Go figure. If he can relish them, so can you.

View the original article here.